Last year at Easter dinner–which is also known as Ham Day in my circle of friends–we were talking about September 11. It turned out that one of my friends was in Spain during the attacks, which was interesting to me. Being so far away, did September 11 have the same impact on her that it did on those of us who were in the country during that time? Not really, she said. She felt a little detached from all of that.
I wondered what it would be like to have that sense of detachment around a major event. Oh, I’ve lived out of the country before and have experienced that odd sensation you get when you missed out on community-wide experiences, but I hadn’t missed something that momentous.
Just a couple of weeks after that conversation, I was in Australia, and the Boston Marathon bombing happened. I forced my roommate to watch CNN ad nauseum and read the coverage in the local papers left in the hotel lobby. A few days later, the Boy was on lockdown while police tracked down the bombers. I was in Melbourne on a commuter train when my buddy got a CNN alert about the capture. It was all surreal.
The past year for me has been a mixture of feelings–I’m sad that the events happened, of course, but I don’t have that same connection to the disruption and the shift in thinking that everyone else experienced. I feel pride in the way the police handled the shoot-out, but I don’t have the same gratitude that others do. I recently saw video of the shoot-out and was shocked that that happened not that far away from where I live. And I also feel some guilt–not because I wasn’t here, but because I don’t have the same amount of patience for all of the stories–I’m not sure there’s been a day in last year where there wasn’t a Marathon bombing-related story in the Boston media, and the last week has been wall-to-wall coverage that’s been understandable, but exceptionally trying–and for all of the effects this has had on people.
While I write this, I’ve got the Marathon television coverage on. I thought about going to the course to watch some of it, but I can’t spare the time today. I also don’t know if I could handle it. I usually get a little emotional watching regular people run marathons because I’m seeing people achieve a really hard goal and it chokes me up a little. Adding the weight that this year’s marathon has may have been too much for me to balance.
Time will help though, and I hope that next year the events of 2013 will be further enough away to better enjoy the race for what it is.